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These pieces, scored for wind quintet and string quintet, are intended to enlarge and expand the literature for such ensembles with Schubert’s Octet, Beethoven’s Septet and Brahms’ Nonet in their repertoire, although with multiple strings to a part they are definitely performable by chamber orchestras.
For me, these pieces are a new involvement with Schubert’s music, although it has been with me since the beginning of my compositional work; my versions of the F minor Fantasy D 940 for orchestra (1983), Schubert’s unfinished opera Der Graf von Gleichen D 918 (1993-1996) and my Nebensonnen for string orchestra (2002 – in the quotations from the B-flat Sonata for piano D 960) – played decisive roles in my own composing.
The lowering atmosphere, dark seascapes and fragile utopias of the musical landscapes in all of these works have fascinated and inspired me – and many other 20th and 21st-century composers, too (Webern, Denisov, Zender, etc.).
The orchestration of these three pieces can also help to reconstruct and experience Schubert’s “path to the Great Symphony” which he pioneered in various chamber-music pieces; this is why I chose the fourth movement of the Sonata D 625 (“a collision of horrific contrasts in the narrowest space,” as Alfred Beaujean described it) for the third and final piece. Besides, I wanted to block out the collapse even more, to mask the destruction of Utopia even more radically, to present the dramatics even more pointedly and – finally – divert attention from everything conciliatory, in order to focus on – to modify Schönberg’s words – Schubert, the modernist.